Question 18. Who then is that Mediator, who is in one person both very God, (a) and a real (b) righteous man? (c)
Answer: Our Lord Jesus Christ: (d) “who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (e)
Questions 16 and 17 taught us that if we are going to be delivered from our sins then certain quality characteristics must be found in the person who rescues us from our sin. Those character qualities are repeated in question 18 with the inquiry asking who fits that description.
Note that in question 18 that the our deliverer and rescuer is spoken of as a Mediator. We have mentioned the mediatorial aspect before but reviewing briefly we underscore that a Mediator is one who represents both parties in a dispute. In the Old Testament the Priests filled the role as the Mediator. The Old Testament Priest represented the people to God in his sacrificial responsibilities and he represented God to the people in his very person. So, we learn from this language that whoever is in one person both very God, and a real righteous man, is also the person who God has set aside to be a Mediator.
One aspect that is interesting about the Lord Christ having the two natures of God and real righteous man is that in being both God and Man the person of Christ has the properties which belong to both natures. This is only to say that the human and divine natures belong to the person of the Lord Christ and so are ascribed to Him in his person. The impact of this means that properties that belong uniquely to both divine and human natures are attributed to the one person of Jesus. For example, the person Jesus can be spoken of in his human nature (Jesus wept, Jesus grows in wisdom and stature, Jesus was tired) but the person Jesus can also be spoken of in his divine nature (omnipresence, all knowing, etc.) However, as we learned in our last session, this does not mean that any of his human nature was divinized, nor was any of his divine nature mixed with the human nature.
Let me clarify with a couple examples Caleb. In John’s Gospel Jesus says,
17:5, “And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.”
The person of Jesus here is claiming something that could only be true of divinity. Jesus is claiming pre-existence and eternality. We might ask how it is that Jesus, who was born of a virgin, and so had a beginning of days, could claim pre-existence with the eternal God. The answer to that is that second person of the Trinity took to himself a human nature, as that was added in the incarnation, and so the person Jesus of Nazareth can speak John 17:5 as one who has a divine nature belonging to His person. The language of Scripture often ascribes to the person of Jesus attributes that could only belong to God.
Another example of this that works in the other direction is found in Acts 28:20
“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”
Of course it is Jesus who purchased the church of God with His own blood. Paul, in Acts, is speaking of the attributes of humanity (blood) as being ascribed to God. As the person Jesus has a divine nature, and as a man he has blood, it can be said that God purchased the church with His own blood even though the divine nature can not bleed.
So, we see that the Scripture teaches that Jesus has two natures. We see that Scripture affirms that Jesus was one person. But we also see Scripture speaking in such a way that “the properties of both, the human and the divine natures, are now the properties of the person, and are therefore ascribed to the person,” and yet without confusing or mixing, nor separating or changing the Divine and Human natures. The fancy theological term for this is communicatio idiomatum.
The reason this is important to keep in mind is that there is a tendency to forget one or the other of these natures. In the early Church, the temptation was to forget the humanity of Jesus. The heresy called gnosticism was constantly denying that Jesus was human. In our era the tendency is to forget that Jesus is divine. We treat the Lord Christ so casually. This is evidenced, I would suggest, by people talking incessantly about having a “relationship with Jesus,” forgetting that this person we talk so casually about having a relationship with is the one whom the Apostle John fell before as dead because of the intense divine glory of His divine presence.
Question 18 gives a number of Scriptures to support the fact that Jesus is God. Here are but three,
1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
Rom.9:5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
Jer.23:6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Question 18 gives a number of Scriptures to support the fact that Jesus is Man. Here are but three,
Luke 2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Philip.2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Heb.2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; Heb.2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Heb.2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
Question 18 gives a number of Scriptures to support the fact that Jesus was without sin. Here are but four,
Heb.4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Heb.7:26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
1 Pet.1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
1 Pet.2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
Remember, this all started by looking for someone qualified to bring us rescue from our sins. That all of this is, in Scripture, seen predominantly in that light is proven by a few texts from Scripture,
1 Tim.2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Heb.2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
There are other philosophical reasons why the divine and the human meeting in Jesus is monumentally important but the Catechism is only concerned with the soteriological (pertaining to salvation) reasons as to why the Lord Christ Christ is both human and divine. In short, unless the Lord Jesus Christ was and is human and divine we could not have been delivered from our sins and would be without God and without hope.
Question 18 ends by quoting 1 Cor.1:30,
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
The importance of this text is found in the reality that as we as Christians are placed in Christ as our representative before the Father, we now wear before the Father the wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption of our representative the Lord Jesus Christ so that when we are considered by the Father we are considered as belonging to the one the Father delights in and so the Father delights in us.
This is why there is no other name under heaven by which men must be saved.